Chapter 2: Only a Remembrance
One hour he would walk and meditate, showing perfectly that life, if it is unmoving, is dead. And life - if it has no rest, goes on moving - it too will end very soon. Life is a balance between rest and movement. And when the harmony is achieved between rest and movement, you come to the very center of your life, which is always with you whether you are sitting or moving, whether you are awake or asleep. Its existence is absolutely certain, but not by reading scriptures. You have to experience it, then you can do anything. Then there is no problem for you, because whatever you do will be done out of a buddha nature.
A young beautiful prince got initiated by Gautam Buddha. In those days, Vaishali was one of the richest cities in India. Buddha was staying for the monsoon near Vaishali. So the prince and every other monk used to go into the city to beg for their meals.
In the city there lived one of the most beautiful women in history. There are only two names that have been known as the most beautiful: one was an Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, and another was Amrapali of Vaishali.
Amrapali was so beautiful. It was a tradition in Buddha’s time that the most beautiful woman cannot be married to any man. She cannot be the monopoly of anybody; she’s so beautiful, she should remain free and available to anybody she likes.
Even kings stood in a queue in front of her house. Just to be with her for a few hours, tremendous money was paid. She had become so rich that even the king used to borrow money from her.
Those days were of a different quality of mind. They did not call her a prostitute, they called her nagarvadhu - married to everyone. She was so beautiful that it would have been absurd to tie her to one person - she would not have remained tied. Soon somebody else would be more attractive; you would be putting her into an unnecessary nightmare. Let her be free - her beauty was such that it could not be owned but everybody was capable of rejoicing in it, according to her will. Such great respect for beauty. ‘Nagarvadhu’ means married to all.
When this monk of Buddha, who used to be a prince just a few years before, was seen passing by, Amrapali sent a servant to prevent him and tell him: “You don’t have to go anywhere. Today, please accept my invitation.”
Other monks were following him, because with Gautam Buddha were ten thousand monks who always followed wherever he went. They could not believe that this monk was entering the house of a prostitute. They rushed back. A few even did not go to beg. It was their prior concern to report to Buddha, “This man has betrayed you. He has entered into a prostitute’s house.”
Buddha said, “I know him. You need not be worried about him. Whatever happens in his life is coming out of the very center of his being; it can never be wrong. But I will take care of it; let him come.”
Soon a few more monks came rushing. They cried, “It is too much! Amrapali has asked him to stay with her at least for the monsoon while we are in Vaishali. And he has accepted!” They could not believe it. They wanted immediate expulsion: “He should be disrobed!”